We've reached that point in the semester where it seems like there are just not enough hours in the day. Pulling an all-nighter is never fun, but there are ways to make your all-night homework session productive. Here is a compilation of several all-nighter tips from scientific research and college experience around the Internet. Enjoy!
Work with a Partner: Just like when running with a partner, having someone next to you can help improve your endurance and make you more motivated. Whatever the reason is, peer pressure or solidarity or moral support, study partners (even if working on unrelated projects) can help during an all-nighter. You can help each other out, read your papers, quiz each other, etc. Just make sure you are not fomenting each other’s procrastination or distracting each other. (http://blog.uloop.com/2011/11/late-night-study-tips/)
B-vitamins: These vitamins are crucial for cell metabolism and help you keep your energy up! You can find them in milk, yogurt, peanuts (and peanut butter), lentils, brown rice, chicken, fish, bananas, potatoes, whole grains and cheese. So enjoy a healthy b-vitamin-y snack! (http://blog.ecollegefinder.org/2010/03/10/9-essential-tips-for-college-students-pulling-all-nighters/)
Water: Drink it!
Lights: Make sure lights are on and the outdoors obscurity is not signaling your body that it is time for bed. (http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/how-to-stay-awake-after-all-nighter)
Avoid Multitasking: Sleepless mode impairs your working memory, which means that you can’t keep track of as many things in your mind at once. So, focus on the things that you have to do, one at a time. If it is helpful, make a list so that you don’t forget and work on things separately, crossing them as you go. (http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/how-to-stay-awake-after-all-nighter)
Move! Take a walk, have a dance jam session, exercise, jump, race up and down the stairs, or do whatever you can think of to get your blood flow moving (more). Exercise boosts your brain power and it is a refreshing activity after sitting for long hours. There is a feedback from your muscles to your brain to improve alertness, so this kind of break can be very helpful and productive. (http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/how-to-stay-awake-after-all-nighter)
Shower: A brief shower will relax your nerves and make you feel fresh enough to power through the night. (http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/how-to-stay-awake-after-all-nighter)
Caffeine + Nap Combo: Caffeine takes from 15 to 30 minutes to kick in, so a good strategy is to drink some coffee, take a 15 minute nap and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start working. (http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/how-to-stay-awake-after-all-nighter)
Overall, try as much as possible to avoid all-nighters, you NEED sleep, so don’t fool yourself into the whole, ‘I am more productive at 4 am’ and stop procrastinating. A good night sleep is better than a 3 hr unproductive Facebook session of looking at the same pictures over and over again.
-Triana Tello Gerez